Sooners Start Spring Football


3-7-07 - Head coach Bob Stoops held a press conference Wednesday morning in advance of Oklahoma's first spring practice of the 2007 season.

The Sooners are slated to work at Owen Field on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the opening week of spring ball.

The NCAA allows 15 sessions during the spring. OU will conduct 12 practices, two scrimmages (March 14 and 31) and the annual spring game at Memorial Stadium on April 7.

The Sooners return 29 players who filled starting roles last season. Joining the Sooners for spring practice are two juco transfers, linebacker Mike Reed (No. 10) and offensive lineman Phil Loadholt (79), plus three early enrollees from high school: linebacker Austin Box (7), offensive lineman Kody Cooke (64) and quarterback Keith Nichol (6).

Select Coach Stoops Quotes

“We’re all kind of looking forward to getting started today, getting out there, getting a lot of good work. There’s a lot of experience and strength on our team that is back. I think its obvious that when you look at the players in positions we have coming back, that the quarterback will be the main center of attention for sure.

“(The quarterbacks) are a great group of guys. I’ve really loved the way the have worked through the winter. All of them – Joey Halzle, Sam Bradford and Keith Nichol – they work together really well which is fun to see as a coach. They are pushing each other, helping each other. We’re just anxious to get them all out there, get them snaps, repetitions. They are all talented guys and we expect a lot out of them.

“I think it’s obvious, and I set it last year when Paul (Thompson) was making the transition back to quarterback...that our team is much more capable of helping that position and being a better offense around that position than we were the year before because of the increased experience. That will, for sure, be the case even more this year.

“We’re getting started a little earlier than usual. We want to be able to finish our Spring Game and spring a little earlier in case you get any kind of major injury there’s a chance to recover more fully. Though we haven’t had that much in the spring, it is my thought to start it sooner to get players back in time for the season.

“We’re still thin (on the offensive line). Most teams will start spring ball with 15 to 18 guys on their offensive line. So we’re still thin at that position, but I don’t think anybody would argue with the quality of players that we have there.

“We want to get guys like Keenan Clayton and Quinton Carter more snaps. We’ll work Brian Jackson a little bit up at safety. We’ve got good speed and coverage ability. We’re going to continue to work Reggie (Smith) some at corner. Just bringing more of those guys along and seeing if they can handle the pressure.

“There’s good players (at defensive end). John Williams and Alonzo Dotson have played a lot of football for us. They’re seniors; they’ve played a significant amount over the last several years. You have some young guys coming up. Auston English played as a true freshman for us and then redshirted last year. Alan Davis has moved back there (from fullback). Tim Johnson and Pryce Macon are some young guys that we can continue to develop. But we feel like we’ve got some quality players there.

“We’ve got strong and quality guys (at running back) and some young guys we’re going to continue to develop. We’re excited about that. They, like the quarterbacks, need to continue to get more snaps.

“They all have different styles. Allen (Patrick) is a tough, hard-nosed running back. Chris (Brown) is a little shiftier. Mossis Madu and DeMarco Murray are talented guys that are also a little more shifty that also have great hands. We’ll find the best way to use those guys. We are excited about Mossis and what he’s been able to do and DeMarco and what he’s done in winter conditioning, building his speed and explosiveness.”


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